Pakistan has been going through a challenging situation with an unstable political, economic and social system for years. Targeted by anti-peace elements and millions of dollars being spent on the defense budget, little is left for restoring the ever declining conditions of the social system. There are a myriad of ongoing challenges for Pakistan; corruption, illiteracy and energy crisis to name a few. In order to bring together the public for finding solutions to the current national dilemma, Acumen Pakistan Fellows has organized Irtiqa ’13 – Leadership for Social Change conference. Acumen Pakistan Fellows is a group of young leaders dedicated to addressing the most pressing social issues of Pakistan.
The Irtiqa ’13 conference intends to bring together innovative ideas for a political economic and social revolution in Pakistan. The conference involves various stakeholders including social entrepreneurs, development partners, media, youth, academia, public sector, community members and beneficiaries. Stakeholders from various sectors of entrepreneurship, media, academia, public administration and community will be engaged in vigorous discussions and activities endorsing action by the people. The Irtiqa ‘13 conference will be bringing together visionaries and personalities leading in their fields, for hardcore discussions and reflections on the current social and political-economic scenario in Pakistan. Some of the prominent personalities speaking at the conference include Darcey Donovan, Kamil Khan Mumtaz, Rafay Alam, Safdar Hussain, Sumaira Gul, Tariq Mian, Ali Akbar, Ghulam Sarwar, Kamran Shams, Raziq Fahim, Sohail Naqvi, Mohsin Hamid, Rashid Rana, Zebunnisa Bangash [Zeb], Amjad Bhatti, Kalimullah Swatay and Rashed Rehman.
Irtiqa ‘13 shall be held on Saturday 23rd November 2013 at Ali Auditorium Lahore from 1: 30pm to 7pm. The conference shall commence with an introduction of the panelists for the segments of Community Development: Infrastructure, Community Development: Human Growth, Art & Societal Progress and The Big Picture. Each segment shall include panel discussions, video and case study presentations by related experts and personalities.
Acumen Pakistan Fellow, Isfundiar Kasuri, expressed the objectives of the conference as being “To bring to the limelight socially innovative ideas from such people of Pakistan whose work for creating a positive impact in the society often goes unnoticed. The conference seeks to provide a snapshot of the work by individuals, which doesn’t receive due attention, to enable people to interact with these individuals and support their cause of bringing about a positive social change.” He further added that the conference is a call for mobilization of civil society members, activists and donors to come under one roof, to witness and support the new and innovative initiatives of persons from various fields of the community, who are working to bring about a progressive social impact in Pakistan. Kasuri added that the Irtiqa ’13 is the first step towards a series of Annual Conferences to be continued every year by the upcoming classes of Acumen Pakistan Fellows.
The diverse yet strong team of speakers and panelists will be conferring and answering questions on the themes of Community Infrastructure Development, Human Development and Importance of Art in Creating Social Impact at home and abroad. The discussions seek to be both inspiring and informative for the attendants of the conference.
Community Development: Infrastructure
The conference will commence with the segment of Community Infrastructure Development. This segment will involve insightful panel discussions on Indigenous Construction and Eco Engineering. Panelists in the discussion include Darcey Donovan, Kamil Khan Mumtaz, Rafay Alam and speakers include Safdar Hussain, Sumaira Gul and Tariq Mian.
Kamil Khan Mumtaz is a renowned architect, educator, author, and pioneer in the movement for conservation of architectural heritage. Mumtaz has been a leading influence in raising standards of architectural design in Pakistan. He has been a practicing architect in Lahore for the past forty three years and has authored Architecture in Pakistan.
Rafay Alam; a well-known Lawyer, environmentalist and columnist shall be on the panel with Mumtaz. Alam has been writing for various national newspapers. He also lectures at the Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS) in the Law & Policy Department. He teaches Urban Development at Punjab University’s Department of Architecture as well. Talking about being a part of the conference he commented: “I will be speaking as a lawyer and environmental activist currently serving as Director of the Lahore Waste Management Company and the Urban Unit and as member of the Punjab Environment Protection Council.” He added that he is looking forward to learning from the presentations at the conference and will respond to issues of interest. Darcey Donovan – CEO of nonprofit organization Pakistan Straw Bale and Appropriate Building (PAKSBAB), will be joining both the panelists.
Citizen activist Tariq Mian, an executive committee member of Karachi Relief Trust will be presenting his case study on Housing for the Poor, a concept on which KRT has been built. KRT is Disaster Management Voluntary Organization which has assisted the victims of 2007 Cyclone Yemyin, 2008 Quetta Earthquake, 2010’s flood affected in various villages in Khyber-Pukhthoonkhwa, lower Punjab and Sindh, and worked on its Rural Rehabilitation Program including the reconstruction of houses, and development of village infrastructure. A case study on solid waste management project e-Guard Initiative will also be showcased, by Acumen Pakistan Fellow, Sumaira Gul, followed by reflections and feedback from the panelists.
Community Development: Human Growth
The second segment of the conference will comprise of presentations and reflections on the prospect of Human Development. The audience will receive a dash of inspiration with success stories of regular individuals who seek to make a progressive impression on the world through lower income entrepreneurship and alternative education. Panelists in the discussion include Sohail Naqvi, Kamran Shams, Raziq Fahim and speakers include Ali Akbar and Ghulam Sarwar.
Forum discussions on Alternative Education & Problem of Scale and Poverty Alleviation Through Entrepreneurship will be lead by Raziq Fahim – Fellow of Ashoka – largest network of social entrepreneurs worldwide, Sohail Naqvi – Vice Chancellor of Lahore University of Management Sciences and Kamran Shams – member Board of Directors’ of Akhuwat – the first ever interest free microfinance program in Pakistan. Ghulam Sarwar and Ali Akbar will be speaking sharing case studies on Lower Income Entrepreneurship and Success Story of Alternative Education respectively. The segment will be concluded with an interactive round with the audience.
Art & Societal Progress
The third segment of Art & Society shall focus on importance of art for creating social change nationally as well as abroad. This segment is dedicated to the individuals who have promoted art in our society and to the advocates of ever growing enhancements of art and culture, in Pakistani society. This session will be moderated by actress Nadia Jamil.
Rashid Rana, considered one of the most prominent and original contemporary artists working in South Asia will be presenting a case study on The Role of the Visual Arts in shaping society. Zebunnisa Humayun Bangash or Zeb as she is popularly known, is vocalist for the female pop duo Zeb and Haniya. At the conference she will talk about the role of music, and indigenous music specifically, as a means to revive Pakistani culture. Celebrity novelist Mohsin Hamid, of Moth Smoke, The Reluctant Fundamentalist, and How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia will express his views on Literature and Film & their positive social impact.
Rana, Zeb and Hamid shall also indulge in a thorough discussion on the hopes and opportunities stemming from the promotion of national cinema and arts. Panelists shall also be asked to share their views on the structural hindrances in the promotion of art in Pakistani society. Panelists will be answering questions from the audience in a Q&A round.
The Big Picture
The concluding segment of Irtiqa’13 would be Peace & Tolerance – Foundational Pillars of an Equitable Society. Editor of Daily Times Rashed Rehman and Amjad Bhatti, National Technical Advisor for United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and Research and Policy Advisor to the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting, will be holding a profound session on the role of National institutions including the Government, the Non-Governmental sector and the media, in promoting tolerance in society as well as paving way for a progressive and innovative leadership, for driving Pakistan out of its downward spiral of social and political-economic problems.
Kalimullah, a peace activist from Swat will be joining in to discuss what roles the youth could take up to ensure tolerance and peace building in the society. An interactive session with the audience will also be conducted to respond to their queries and concerns with the discussants.
The conference is open to all and seats will be allotted on a first come first served basis from 1:30pm to 2:00pm. Early arrival is suggested to ensure organized seating and timely orientation of the sessions. Stalls will be put up by Acumen Pakistan Fellows for exhibiting their initiatives as well as for the display of socially conscientious art. Fellows’ presentations and documentaries shall be played on a large display screen for interested attendees. There is also an arrangement for tea and refreshments for participants, attendees as well as media members. A theatrical representation on the social issues of Pakistan shall be presented in the lawn by the theatre performers of ‘Dugdugi.’
About Acumen Pakistan Fellows:
The Acumen Pakistan Fellows Program is an initiative of the global non-profit organization Acumen. Acumen’s mission is to create a world beyond poverty by investing in companies, leaders and ideas and has been investing in Pakistan since 2002. The Acumen Pakistan Fellows Program was launched in 2012 to address the leadership gap in the social impact sector. It provides a development opportunity for aspiring leaders by training them on world class standards, enabling them to work together in a team with individuals who share the same dream of progress and evolution in the various social, political and economic strata of Pakistan. The Program is sponsored by JS Bank, Mahvish and Jahangir Siddiqui Foundation and Rothschild Foundation.